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RAID Capable Hard Drives


Dave
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I keep talking about and testing RAID with my WHS2011 setup and I may be overlooking one important factor. The drives themselves. If we put consumer hard drives in a RAID setup are we headed for a world of hurt in the future? I know manufacturers have specific drives for RAID setups and I have never researched the effects of using consumer drives. Just food for thought I look for your opinion on the subject.

 

Another good thread about drive usage is going on here: AV Drives for OS

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For a home environment, I think the 'Raid' version of drives (ie, WD Black line) are overpriced.

 

If it's business, then yeah go ahead and spend the cash, your productivity offsets the cost.

 

For the home though, I'd think you'd be hard pressed to justify spending in some cases almost a 50% premium for the Raid version of the drives as opposed to simply sinking the costs into additional spindles.

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WD Black line is a consumer line and is not certified for RAID by Western Digital. You need to look for the RE designation. SATA RE drives are basically the same as the consumer drives except that they pass a more stringent testing criteria, giving them a higher MTF rating. WD also flashes these drives with more RAID-friendly firmwares.

 

In general, I think if you're looking at sofware RAID internal to WHS2011 or Intel Matrix Storage, you should be fine with consumer-grade drives. If, on the other hand, you're looking at a hardware RAID controller (dedicated processor) and RAID 5, then I'd consider verifying that the drives you're planning on using are certified for RAID.

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The main difference between consumer and enterprise drives is the qualification process or MTBF estimation. It's a complicated and confusing subject, but the gist of it all is that enterprise drives can operate at much higher loads and for longer before they ultimately fail.

 

I would consider RAID 5 as an enterprise application because of the load experienced by the drive during a rebuild cycle, when a drive fails. Each drive in the array will go to 100% load and stay there for a few days, and that process has been known to cause one of those drives to fail, resulting in data loss.

 

So I guess my answer to that is a yes. If you use RAID 5. :)

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So now, a potential WHS buyer not only is faced with a reduced feature set in he new WHS, but they also need to worry about how to handle the storage (RAID or growing list of drive letters) but they also should be buying the more expensive drives if they decided to go the RAID route? I guess the good news is that anyone willing to tackle RAID as the solution will be geek enough to sort through which drives are RAID certified and which ones are not.

 

One thing I would like to hear more about is other than the fact that WHS v1 will eventually stop being supported, why should an existing owner of v1 move to v2? What is going to be very interesting is how MS brings this to market. Will they have a pre-made solution in brick n mortar stores? Will they advertise it this time? If they had trouble selling v1, how do they expect to sell more of v2 and if they don't, why make a v3 unless you figure out the DE issue or come up with a better solution than 15 drive letters or expecting my Mom to set up a RAID 5 array. Yea Mom, great job setting up your RAID 5 array, but while you where rebuilding your array from a disk failure another disk failed because you didn't use RAID certified drives and now all you data is lost. The good news is this scenario will never happen, because my Mom will never set up a RAID 5 array and I would never put that solution in their house (they live 12 hours away, so onsite support is out of the question).

 

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So now, a potential WHS buyer not only is faced with a reduced feature set in he new WHS, but they also need to worry about how to handle the storage (RAID or growing list of drive letters) but they also should be buying the more expensive drives if they decided to go the RAID route? I guess the good news is that anyone willing to tackle RAID as the solution will be geek enough to sort through which drives are RAID certified and which ones are not.

 

One thing I would like to hear more about is other than the fact that WHS v1 will eventually stop being supported, why should an existing owner of v1 move to v2? What is going to be very interesting is how MS brings this to market. Will they have a pre-made solution in brick n mortar stores? Will they advertise it this time? If they had trouble selling v1, how do they expect to sell more of v2 and if they don't, why make a v3 unless you figure out the DE issue or come up with a better solution than 15 drive letters or expecting my Mom to set up a RAID 5 array. Yea Mom, great job setting up your RAID 5 array, but while you where rebuilding your array from a disk failure another disk failed because you didn't use RAID certified drives and now all you data is lost. The good news is this scenario will never happen, because my Mom will never set up a RAID 5 array and I would never put that solution in their house (they live 12 hours away, so onsite support is out of the question).

 

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I am sure it will be like they have done in the past, "You must upgrade because we will no longer support v1.".

 

 

Your mom might be able to setup a RAID5 if she follows this video :rolleyes:

 

 

 

Sweet, I will now have a legitimate reason to schedule a maintenance window when I have a drive in my raid setup fail. I can't wait to send out an email to my one other user notifying her that the network will be down between 8 PM and 9 PM Sunday night. :rolleyes:

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